The Publicis group is broadening its offering with the takeover of the leading French design agency Carre Noir.
The acquisition announcement coincides with strong preliminary financial results for 2000 which include a 72 per cent billings increase over the previous year to just under $11 billion.
Carre Noir, whose clients include Michelin tyres and the retailer Le Bon Marche, will be used as the catalyst to revitalise the group's language and design division in Paris.
The division, which expects to see its gross income exceed $14 million this year, is part of a strategy to put design at the centre of corporate communications consulting operations carried out by the agency.
The latest financial figures reflect the group's huge global expansion last year but include only the fourth quarter billings from the newly-acquired Saatchi & Saatchi. Excluding Saatchis, Publicis billings grew by 48 per cent in 2000.